Tuesday weather report: Storm system moves into Lake Tahoe
A strong jet stream across the central Pacific will direct a series of fast-moving weather systems across northern California this week beginning today. Look for increasing clouds and southwest winds 20 to 30 mph this afternoon with light rain in the Lake Tahoe Basin and snow above 7,000 feet through the evening.
Cooler air overnight will allow snow to mix with rain at lake level into Wednesday morning. Afternoon temperatures are forecast to rise into the upper 40s and lower 50s around the basin under cloudy skies with little change into Wednesday. Cloudy skies and gusty winds should keep overnight lows in the 30s both Wednesday and Thursday mornings.
Precipitation amounts are forecast to be light, as the main jet stream-generated dynamic lift remains a little north of the area. Computer models are currently showing around 0.10 to 0.20 inch of rain in the basin by Wednesday, with 2 to 4 inches of snow possible above 7,000 feet. Mild temperatures should keep any snow from sticking very long at lake level, but some travel restriction are possible over the passes. Motorists should check the latest road conditions before heading over the passes.
While previous computer forecast models were showing a break on Thursday, now they are leaning toward a flatter high pressure ridge with some warm, frontal-type rain and clouds along the southern periphery of the jet stream across the Tahoe area. Look for very high snow levels above 8,000 feet Thursday and Friday, with a subtropical tap of moisture from the mid Pacific.
A fairly strong cold front is forecast to drag across the Tahoe area Friday night, bringing a chance of heavier rain and snow with snow levels lowering to lake level by Saturday morning.
Longer-range forecast models are in reasonable agreement, bringing high pressure and dry conditions back over the area late Saturday and Sunday. Temperatures should also return to seasonal normals this weekend, with highs in the upper 40s to lower 50s Saturday, warming to the mid 50s and lower 60s on Sunday.
— Tom Cylke is a retired meteorologist who has forecasted weather in the Reno and Lake Tahoe area with the National Weather Service since 1974. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.